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Miscellaneous

Roque to work for more barangay workers’ incentives

UniTeam senatorial candidate Harry Roque has vowed to push for a law that would further incentivize barangay personnel who make democracy and government policies work at the grassroots level.

If elected, Roque said he would seek to postpone the barangay elections in 2024 due to the Covid 19 pandemic, strengthen the barangay justice system, and increase barangay health workers’ honorarium.

Roque would also revive two bills he sponsored as a former party-list member at the House of Representatives. These are the Budget Reform Advocacy for Village Empowerment (BRAVE) and the Barangay Workers Incentive Act.

“We commend the barangay officials and workers for helping the government win the fight against Covid 19. They have successfully operationalized our ‘Mask, Hugas, Iwas at Magpabakuna’ campaign at the community level,” Roque said.

He added: “Since the pandemic disrupted the program and project implementation in 42,000 barangay units nationwide, it would be better to postpone the 2024 barangay elections.”

Roque lamented that they are among the lowest-paid and least benefited government workers, paying tribute to barangay officials and employees as solid on-the-ground partners of the President and the executive.

The principal author of the Universal Health Coverage would bat for a minimum P8,000 honorarium for health workers, whose assistance was crucial to the Covid-19 vaccination of 64 million Filipinos to date.

He would seek to expand the jurisdiction of the ‘katarungang pambarangay,’ which mediates interpersonal disputes in a community, and increase the honorarium of the ‘lupong tagamapayapa,’ the council presiding a conflict resolution.

If elected in the Senate, Roque would refile House Bill 3021, which provides incentives to barangay captains, officials, employees, ‘lupong tagapamayapa’ members, and the ‘tanods’ in charge of peace and order.

Roque said the proposed incentives aim to raise the barangay workers’ quality of life and ensure that they faithfully discharge their sworn duties and functions.

Under the bill, the salaries, compensation, honoraria, allowances, and gross benefits received by barangay officials and employees would be tax-exempt.

All barangay workers would be considered members of the Government Security and Insurance System (GSIS) and are entitled to retirement, separation, disability, and unemployment benefits.

Under existing laws, they would also be covered by government medical and health insurance programs.

Barangay workers facing administrative and criminal cases related to the performance of their official duties would be entitled to the free legal services of the Public Attorneys Office (PAO).

They would be exempt from paying docket and other lawful fees and transcripts of stenographic notes, which the court may order to be furnished them.

Further, Roque would propose again the BRAVE program measure that provides P5million in project development funding to every barangay unit across the nation.

Roque was a guest speaker at the League of Barangay in the Philippines – Calabarzon and Mimiropa Convention at the SMX Convention Center recently.

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